Social media, fear holds us back

Was asked the other day why more nurseries and garden centers don't use social media. This question was from someone in Silicon Valley. Yup, the high tech capitol of the world (or at least it use to be). You would think the garden centers there would be all over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. They are no more connected than other garden centers in the country. I believe the reason more of them are not in social media is because of fear. Fear at the loss of control that comes with opening yourself up to customers and others. Unlike the old days (a couple of years ago) we controlled the message through finely crafted ad campaigns that ran in the local paper, radio, or magazine.Social media turns that on its head. Now it's not just what you want to talk about, but it's about what your customers and friends want to talk about. "How am I going to sell anything when people just want to talk about themselves?" That's where the fear comes in. Your right! People don't want to hear about that great new fertilizer, plant, or other goodie you want to sell. They want to hear how being involved with you will make their lives richer and more fulfilling. Do you have a good answer? If not, I would be afraid too.

We are all fearful.Social media is about putting aside some of those fears and opening up about yourself, and business. I don’t want to hear about your new petunia variety. I want to hear about Susie, that cool lady that works there. How did that workshop she put on go? Sorry I couldn’t make it, maybe next time. What’s that? Susie is out back propagating some new petunia variety. I wonder if she will show it to us in the next workshop on hanging baskets? She is so hip. I want my garden to be like I imagine hers is.The small businesses that are able to put aside some of the fear, and interact with the people “out there” will be the ones that succeed in the future. The businesses that allow their social media person to take some chances, make some mistakes, and create relationships, will be better off than the fear based businesses that do nothing.